Challenge Formats

Challenge formats are competition over long periods of time (eg a season or a year) where club members can challenge each other to matches. Challenge formats traditionally use a league or pyramid format where winners move up and losers move down.

Below is a list of Challenge Competition formats:

Advice for running Challenge Competitions

Necessities for a good challenge system are:

  • Who is the event for?
  • How does it work?
  • clear instruction for entry
  • a ladder with players names
  • clear rules of agreements on
    • the amount of games / sets and the scoring
    • the time period the matches need to played by
  • How players can challenge someone else (ie. to play against the same player inconsecutive matches is not allowed)
  • perhaps a special court reservation
  • an enthusiastic ‘ladder manager’

Challenge system in short

  • with challenge systems the names of the players or pairs are displayed from top to bottom, next to one another or in pyramid form.
  • A lower placed player can challenge a higher placed player
  • If the lower placed player beats the higher placed player, the two players changes places. If the higher placed player wins, nothing happens.
  • It is not possible to play against the same player in consecutive matches is not allowed
  • The advantage of the challenge system is that the participants cannot be eliminated
  • The participant can decide against who and when to play
  • Usually the challenge system is set up in such a way that they can be played over a longer period.

Pyramid system


Although the purpose is the same as a ladder system, in this system it is possible to place more participants clearly. Because the system offers more possibilities to challenge one another it is less likely for the system to stagnate.


It is possible that a fairly good player is regularly challenged by a much lesser player

  • Timescale – From2 hours to a whole season. A longer period of time is preferable.
  • Participants – A maximum of 60 players.

With a pyramid system the players are placed within a pyramid shape. On every lower line one or more players are placed than on the line above.


  1. There are three ways to challenge:
  2. You can challenge a person from a line above
  3. Before challenging someone from the line above, you have to win from a player in the line you are in

You can challenge every player who is placed on the left side of you and the players above. When the challenger wins he can take the place of the other person. When placed on the very left of the line, only the persons above can be challenged. This reveals both a horizontal and a vertical shift.

Chimney System


The advantages of both previous systems are combined in this system. On the top there is a very clear rank order visible. In this system it is possible to place a lot of players.


Like all the other challenge systems, this system depends on the involvement and participation of the players.

  • Timescale - The players choose who and when they are going to play. The challenge systems are generally drafted so that they can be played over a long period of time.
  • Participants - Maximum 60

This is combination of both previous systems: a pyramid with on top a small ladder. On the bottom part the rules for the pyramid system apply. For the ‘chimney’ the rules for the ladder system apply (not challenging more than two ranks up).

Around the racquet-system


From the positioning of the names you can not see what the ranking is


You can only challenge 5 positions ahead

  • Timescale - From 2 hours to a whole season. With most challenge systems it is preferable to have a longer playing period, where as with the ‘Round the racket’ system it is not necessary.
  • Participants - Maximum approx. 30 players

The intention is that the participants rotate around the racquet as much as possible. For this players challenge each other. The rules of this system are as follows:

  • everyone rotates in the same direction
  • a player can only challenge another player 5 paces from his position.
  • before you play the same player again you have to play someone else
  • after a winning match, in which you shift places, you have to defend your rank (a player can if needed challenge someone a rank behind)
  • the player who rotates the racquet most within a set time, is the winner. If nobody rotates the racquet entirely, the player who is farthest from their starting position is the winner.

Challenge system in groups


Non active players drop in the system, whereby they become separated from the active players


Only after a certain amount of time can a player go up

  • Timescale – from 1 day to a whole season
  • Participants – maximum 60 players.

It is practical to have a multiple of 5 players at all times, so that the top two from the group can promote, the bottom two demote and the middle player will stay. Naturally it is possible to create a smaller group at the bottom. New entries will be added to this.

This information is provided courtesy of KNLTB, The Netherlands

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